Ray Epps, a former Marine who became the center of a Jan. 6 conspiracy theory, has been charged with a misdemeanor offense in connection with the Capitol riot and is expected to plead guilty, according to court papers filed Tuesday. Epps, who claimed in a lawsuit filed this year that Fox News Channel made him a scapegoat for the Capitol riot, is charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct on restricted grounds, court records show. Epps’ attorney, Edward J. Ungvarsky, told the AP that the case was filed with an anticipation that Epps would plead guilty to the charge. The judge has scheduled a plea agreement hearing for Wednesday.
Epps, a one-time supporter of Donald Trump who has said he went to Washington to protest the 2020 election Trump lost to Joe Biden, was falsely accused by Fox of being a government agent who was whipping up trouble that would be blamed on Trump supporters, his lawsuit claims. FBI Director Christopher Wray, in an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee in July, denied having any knowledge of Epps being a “secret government agent.” “I will say this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous,” Wray told lawmakers.
In an interview that aired earlier this year with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Epps, of Mesa, Arizona, described being “on the run” after death threats forced him and his wife to sell their home. Although Epps’ lawsuit mentions Fox’s Laura Ingraham and Will Cain, former Fox host Tucker Carlson is cited as the leader in promoting the theory. Epps was featured in more than two dozen segments on Carlson’s prime-time show, the lawsuit said. Epps’ lawsuit against Fox says the Justice Departmrnent told him in May that he faces criminal charges for his actions on Jan. 6 and blames that on “the relentless attacks by Fox and Mr. Carlson and the resulting political pressure.” (Read more Capitol riot stories.)
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